In a game that had huge implications on the MAC West race and the MAC Tournament placing, Central Michigan (15-13, 8-7 MAC) was able to make their 3-pointers, and defeat a game Northern Illinois (18-10, 7-8 MAC), 76-64.
John Simons lead all scorers with 17 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Chippewas in a pivotal victory. Chris Fowler, also added 16 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists. Josh Kozinski was virtually unstoppable, for the Chippewas scoring 15 points from behind the 3-point arc. Braylon Rayson, CMU's leading scorer on the season, had 10 points, and added 5 rebounds. The patented #3MU offense was in full effect, sinking 10 three-pointers on the night in what has been a down year for the Chippewas in that statistic.
For Northern Illinois, Marin Maric lead the Huskies down low with 10 points and he also grabbed 11 rebounds for another double double. Travon Baker also scored 10 points for the Huskies in what was an offensive struggle for NIU. Contrary to CMU's lights-out performace, Northern Illinois struggled to make shots, going a woeful 3 of 19 attempted three pointers, and 36% on the night.
Both teams were able to convert at the free throw line (NIU led with 77.5%), but the key difference down the stretch was CMU winning the battle in three pointers (NIU 3, CMU 10) and defensive rebounds (CMU 24- NIU 22), the latter of which the Chips normally struggle with. DaRohn Scott and Luke Meyer were also able to get it done down low on both sides of the ball, with the duo scoring the first 8 points of the game for CMU, and finishing with a combined 12 points and 9 rebounds as role players.
Central Michigan looks to grab at least a share of second place in the MAC West, as they travel to Toledo to take on the Rockets on Saturday. CMU was able to beat Toledo in the previous meeting. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Northern Illinois, meanwhile, looks to shake off this tough road loss, returning home where they have been strong all season, to take on the Western Michigan Broncos. The Broncos walked away with a win in the last meeting. Tip for that game is set for 4:30 on Saturday.